• Training Powered Wheelchair Manoeuvres in Mixed Reality

      Day, Thomas W.; John, Nigel W.; University of Chester (IEEE Xplore, 2019-09)
      We describe a mixed reality environment that has been designed as an aid for training driving skills for a powered wheelchair. Our motivation is to provide an improvement on a previous virtual reality wheelchair driving simulator, with a particular aim to remove any cybersickness effects. The results of a validation test are presented that involved 35 able bodied volunteers divided into three groups: mixed reality trained, virtual reality trained, and a control group. No significant differences in improvement was found between the groups but there is a notable trend that both the mixed reality and virtual reality groups improved more than the control group. Whereas the virtual reality group experienced discomfort (as measured using a simulator sickness questionnaire), the mixed reality group experienced no side effects.
    • Translational Medicine: Challenges and new orthopaedic vision (Mediouni-Model)

      Mediouni, Mohamed; Madiouni, Riadh; Gardner, Michael; Vaughan, Neil; University of Chester, UK
      Background: In North America and three European countries Translational Medicine (TM) funding has taken center stage as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, has come to recognize that delays are common place in completing clinical trials based upon benchside advancements. Recently, there are several illustrative examples whereby the translation of research had untoward outcomes requiring immediate action. Methods: Focus more on three-dimensional (3D) simulation, biomarkers, and Artificial Intelligence may allow orthopaedic surgeons to predict the ideal practices before orthopaedic surgery. Using the best medical imaging techniques may improve the accuracy and precision of tumor resections. Results: This article is directed at the young surgeon scientist and in particular orthopaedic residents and all other junior physicians in training to help them better understand TM and position themselves in career paths and hospital systems that strive for optimal TM. It serves to hasten the movement of knowledge garnered from the benchside and move it quickly to the bedside. Conclusions: Communication is ongoing in a bidirectional format. It is anticipated that more and more medical Centers and institutions will adopt TM models of healthcare delivery.
    • Traversing social networks in the virtual dance hall: visualizing history in VR

      Southall, Helen; Beever, Lee; Butcher, Peter; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2017-09-20)
      Digital recreations of historical sites and events are important tools both for academic researchers and for public interpretation. Current 3D visualization and VR technologies enable these recreations to be increasingly immersive and engaging. This poster describes a case study based on a mid-twentieth century Chester dance hall, examining the possibilities and limitations of 3D VR for recreating a public music venue which no longer physically exists, and also for visualizing and analyzing the professional network of musicians who played there, and at many other local venues.
    • Treating wastewater by indigenous microalgae strain in pilot platform located inside a municipal wastewater treatment plant

      Han, Jichang; Laurenz, Thomsen; Pan, Kehou; Wang, Pu; Wawilow, Tatjana; Osundeko, Olumayowa; Wang, Song; Theilen, Ulf; Thomsen, Claudia; Jacob University Bremen, Germany
      Various resources from a municipal wastewater treatment plant (MWTP) are available for microalgae cultivation plants, suggesting that a combination of these technologies can be used to produce microalgae biomass and remove contaminants at a low cost. In this study, the growth performance and nutrient removal efficiency of an indigenous Scenedesmus sp. in various wastewater media with different exchange patterns were investigated firstly, then transferred to a pilot-scale photobioreactor (located inside a MWTP) for bioremediation use. The temperature and pH of the platform were maintained at 15–30°C and 7.6, respectively. The NH+4− N, NO−3− N, and PO3−4− P of the wastewater could be reduced to below 0.05, 0.40, and 0.175 mg L–1, respectively. Our results indicate that microalgae cultivation using the resources of a MWTP can achieve high algal biomass productivity and nutrient removal rate. Our study also suggests that efficient technology for controlling zooplankton needs to be developed.
    • Trion formation in a two-dimensional hole-doped electron gas

      Spink, Graham G.; López Ríos, Pablo; Drummond, Neil D.; Needs, Richard J.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester; Lancaster University (American Physical Society, 2016-07-22)
      The interaction between a single hole and a two-dimensional, paramagnetic, homogeneous electron gas is studied using diffusion quantum Monte Carlo simulations. Electron-hole relaxation energies, pair-correlation functions, and electron-hole center-of-mass momentum densities are reported for a range of electron-hole mass ratios and electron densities. We find numerical evidence of a crossover from a collective excitonic state to a trion-dominated state in a density range in agreement with that found in recent experiments on quantum-well heterostructures.
    • Twenty-Eight Orders of Parametric Resonance in a Microelectromechanical Device for Multi-band Vibration Energy Harvesting

      Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-07-22)
      This paper contends to be the first to report the experimental observation of up to 28 orders of parametric resonance, which has thus far only been envisioned in the theoretical realm. While theory has long predicted the onset of n orders of parametric resonance, previously reported experimental observations have been limited up to about the first 5 orders. This is due to the rapid narrowing nature of the frequency bandwidth of the higher instability intervals, making practical accessibility increasingly more difficult. Here, the authors have experimentally confirmed up to 28 orders of parametric resonance in a micromachined membrane resonator when electrically undamped. While the implication of this finding spans across the vibration dynamics and transducer application spectrum, the particular significance of this work is to broaden the accumulative operational frequency bandwidth of vibration energy harvesting for enabling self-powered microsystems. Up to 5 orders were recorded when driven at 1.0g of acceleration across a matched load of 70kΩ. With a natural frequency of 980Hz, the fundamental mode direct resonance had a −3dB bandwidth of 55Hz, in contrast to the 314Hz for the first order parametric resonance; furthermore, the half power bands of all 5 orders accumulated to 478Hz.
    • Two high-order time discretization schemes for subdiffusion problems with nonsmooth data

      Yan, Yubin; Wang, Yanyong; Yang, Yan; University of Chester; Lvliang University
      Two new high-order time discretization schemes for solving subdiffusion problems with nonsmooth data are developed based on the corrections of the existing time discretization schemes in literature. Without the corrections, the schemes have only a first order of accuracy for both smooth and nonsmooth data. After correcting some starting steps and some weights of the schemes, the optimal convergence orders $O(k^{3- \alpha})$ and $O(k^{4- \alpha})$ with $0< \alpha <1$ can be restored for any fixed time $t$ for both smooth and nonsmooth data, respectively. The error estimates for these two new high-order schemes are proved by using Laplace transform method for both homogeneous and inhomogeneous problem. Numerical examples are given to show that the numerical results are consistent with the theoretical results.
    • A two-channel, Thermal Dissociation Cavity-Ringdown Spectrometer for the detection of ambient NO2, RO2NO2 and RONO2

      Thieser, Jim; Schuster, Gerhard; Phillips, Gavin J.; Reiffs, Andreas; Parchatka, Uwe; Poehler, D.; Lelieveld, Jos; Crowley, John N.; Schuladen, Jan; Max-Planck Institut fur Chemie ; University of Heidelberg ; University of Chester (Copernicus Publications, 2016-02-17)
      We describe a thermal dissociation cavity ring-down spectrometer (TD-CRDS) for measurement of ambient NO2, total peroxy nitrates (ΣPNs) and total alkyl nitrates (ΣANs). The spectrometer has two separate cavities operating at  ∼  405.2 and 408.5 nm. One cavity (reference) samples NO2 continuously from an inlet at ambient temperature, the other samples sequentially from an inlet at 473 K in which PNs are converted to NO2 or from an inlet at 723 K in which both PNs and ANs are converted to NO2, difference signals being used to derive mixing ratios of ΣPNs and ΣANs. We describe an extensive set of laboratory experiments and numerical simulations to characterise the fate of organic radicals in the hot inlets and cavity and derive correction factors to account for the bias resulting from the interaction of peroxy radicals with ambient NO and NO2. Finally, we present the first measurements and comparison with other instruments during a field campaign, outline the limitations of the present instrument and provide an outlook for future improvements.
    • Ultrafast Electric Field-induced Phase Transition in Bulk Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 under High Intensity Terahertz Irradiation

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Man; McKinnon, Ruth A.; Viola, Giuseppe; Zhang, Dou; Reece, Michael J.; Abrahams, Isaac; Yan, Haixue; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Central South University
      Ultrafast polarization switching is being considered for the next generation of ferroelectric based devices. Recently, the dynamics of the field-induced transitions associated with this switching have been difficult to explore, due to technological limitations. The advent of terahertz (THz) technology has now allowed for the study of these dynamic processes on the picosecond (ps) scale. In this paper, intense terahertz (THz) pulses were used as a high-frequency electric field to investigate ultrafast switching in the relaxor ferroelectric, Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3. Transient atomic-scale responses, which were evident as changes in reflectivity, were captured by THz probing. The high energy THz pulses induce an increase in reflectivity, associated with an ultrafast field-induced phase transition from a weakly polar phase (Cc) to a strongly polar phase (R3c) within 20 ps at 200 K. This phase transition was confirmed using X-ray powder diffraction and by electrical measurements which showed a decrease in the frequency dispersion of relative permittivity at low frequencies.
    • Understanding the impact of cavitation on hydrocarbons in the middle distillate range

      Price, Richard J.; Blazina, Damir; Smith, Graham C.; Davies, Trevor J.; Shell Global Solution ; Shell Global Solution ; University of Chester ; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2015-04-22)
      Hydrocarbons in the middle distillate range (C8 - C26) have been treated with ultrasound at 20 kHz - a frequency sufficient to drive acoustic cavitation. The high temperatures experienced as a result of the implosion of fuel vapour bubbles are sufficient to produce pyrolytic degradation and dehydrogenation, as well as a growth mechanism that results in the formation of small particles that have similarities with the primary soot particles produced during diesel combustion. These nanosized particles agglomerate as a result of kinetically driven collisions during cavitation to form a dispersion of micron sized particles in the treated hydrocarbon. The particles are carbonaceous in character, being a mixture of amorphous and graphitic-like carbon. The mass of material produced increases with the C/H atomic ratio of the hydrocarbon undergoing cavitation and is decreased through the addition (1 - 3 %v/v) of low boiling paraffinic hydrocarbons, possibly as a result of lowering the temperature developed inside imploding cavities. Dispersions of microparticles contain equilibrated levels of nanoparticles. If sufficiently high numbers of these smaller primary particles are present they agglomerate due to thermally driven collisions during post-cavitation storage. When this happened a sharp rise in the number of 1 - 2 µm particles was seen after only a few days. Some evidence is presented for the behaviour of ultrasonically treated hydrocarbons being related to the degradation of diesel fuel exposed to hydrodynamic cavitation in the fuel systems of modern common rail direct injection diesel engines.
    • Understanding the relationship between ignition delay and burn duration in a constant volume vessel at diesel engine conditions

      Davies, Trevor J.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2014-06-19)
      Experiments were performed in a constant volume vessel, with fuel sprays injected into the vessel at various different pressure and temperature conditions chosen to represent diesel engine operation at various loads. A range of diesel primary reference fuels (i.e. mixtures of cetane and heptamethylnonane) of varying cetane number (CN) were tested, and as expected lower CN fuels have longer ignition delays. Burn period was plotted against ignition delay and two distinct trends can be seen: “mainly diffusion” diesel combustion in which burn period decreases with ignition delay and “mainly pre-mixed” diesel combustion in which burn period increases with ignition delay. There is typically a minimum in plots of burn period versus ignition delay which represents the transition between the two types of combustion mode. Higher CN, higher engine load and higher boost pressure would seem to favour “mainly diffusion” combustion whilst lower CN, lower loads and non boosted conditions favour “mainly pre-mixed” combustion.
    • Underwhelming the immune response: Effect of slow virus growth on CD8+-T-lymphocyte responses

      Bocharov, Gennady; Burkhard, Ludewig; Bertoletti, Antonio; Klenerman, Paul; Junt, Tobias; Krebs, Philippe; Luzyanina, Tatyana; Fraser, Cristophe; Anderson, Roy M.; University of London/Institute of Numerical Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences ; University of Zurich ; University College London ; Oxford University ; University of Zurich ; University of Zurich ; Leuven University ; University of London ; University of London (American Society for Microbiology, 2004-02-12)
      The speed of virus replication has typically been seen as an advantage for a virus in overcoming the ability of the immune system to control its population growth. Under some circumstances, the converse may also be true: more slowly replicating viruses may evoke weaker cellular immune responses and therefore enhance their likelihood of persistence. Using the model of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection in mice, we provide evidence that slowly replicating strains induce weaker cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses than a more rapidly replicating strain. Conceptually, we show a "bell-shaped" relationship between the LCMV growth rate and the peak CTL response. Quantitative analysis of human hepatitis C virus infections suggests that a reduction in virus growth rate between patients during the incubation period is associated with a spectrum of disease outcomes, from fulminant hepatitis at the highest rate of viral replication through acute resolving to chronic persistence at the lowest rate. A mathematical model for virus-CTL population dynamics (analogous to predator [CTL]-prey [virus] interactions) is applied in the clinical data-driven analysis of acute hepatitis B virus infection. The speed of viral replication, through its stimulus of host CTL responses, represents an important factor influencing the pathogenesis and duration of virus persistence within the human host. Viruses with lower growth rates may persist in the host because they "sneak through" immune surveillance.
    • The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the European Union's electrical and electronic equipment directives

      Powell-Turner, Julieanna; Antill, Peter; Fisher, Richard; Cranfield University
      The growth of the generation of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), and the use of hazardous substances in the production of these items, has required legislation to minimise the harm to the environment that their existing use, ultimate disposal and continued growth of the sector may pose. The European Union (EU) started to tackle this problem with the passing of two Directives in 2002, which focused on restricting the use of hazardous substances (RoHS - 2002/95/EC) and organising the recycling or disposal of discarded electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE - 2002/96/EC). These Directives have been recently recast and their scope widened; however, one exception to them remains items specifically designed for defence and military purposes. This paper looks at how and why these European Directives were passed, the impact they have had on defence in the United Kingdom (UK) up to the present moment, what impact the further extension of those directives might have on UK defence policy and how the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has begun to prepare for any extension, including the use of alternative products from the commercial market, and substituting less harmful materials. The paper reviews the information available to carry out future decision making and what level of decision making it can support. Where the data is insufficient, it makes recommendations on actions to take for improvement.
    • Units of the group algebra of the group $C_n\times D_6$ over any finite field of characteristic $3$

      Gildea, Joe; Taylor, Rhian; University of Chester (International Electronic Journal of Algebra, 2018-07-05)
      In this paper, we establish the structure of the unit group of the group algebra ${\FF}_{3^t}(C_n\times D_6)$ for $n \geq 1$.
    • The Use of Stereoscopy in a Neurosurgery Training Virtual Environment

      John, Nigel W.; Phillips, Nicholas I.; ap Cenydd, Llyr; Pop, Serban R.; Coope, David; Kamaly-Asl, Ian; de Souza, Christopher; Watt, Simon J.; University of Chester, Leeds General Infirmary, Bangor University, University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Cardiff University (MIT Press, 2017-03-15)
      We have previously investigated the effectiveness of a custom built virtual environment in assisting training of a ventriculostomy procedure, which is a commonly performed procedure by a neurosurgeon and a core task for trainee surgeons. The training tool (called VCath) was initially developed as a low fidelity app for a tablet platform to provide easy access and availability to trainees. Subsequently we have developed a high fidelity version of VCath that uses a stereoscopic display to immerse the trainee in the virtual environment. This paper reports on two studies that have been carried out to compare the low and high fidelity versions of VCath, particularly to assess the value of stereoscopy. Study 1 was conducted at the second annual boot camp organized for all year one trainees in neurosurgery in the UK. Study 2 was performed on lay people, with no surgical experience. Our hypothesis was that using stereoscopy in the training task would be beneficial. Results from Study 1 demonstrated that performance improved for both the control group and the group trained with the tablet version of VCath. The group trained on the high fidelity version of VCath with a stereoscopic display showed no performance improvement. The indication is that our hypothesis is false. In Study 2, six different conditions were investigated that covered the use of training with VCath on a tablet, a mono display at two different sizes, a stereo display at two different sizes, and a control group who received no training. Results from this study with lay people show that stereoscopy can make a significant improvement to the accuracy of needle placement. The possible reasons for these results and the apparent contradiction between the two studies are discussed.
    • Using and Validating Airborne Ultrasound as a Tactile Interface within Medical Training Simulators

      Hung, Gary M. Y.; John, Nigel W.; Hancock, Chris; Hoshi, Takayuki; University of Chester (Springer International Publishing, 2014-10)
      We have developed a system called UltraSendo that creates a force field in space using an array of ultrasonic transducers cooperatively emitting ultrasonic waves to a focal point. UltraSendo is the first application of this technology in the context of medical training simulators. A face validation study was carried out at a Catheter Laboratory in a major regional hospital.
    • Using approximations to Lyapunov exponents to predict changes in dynamical behaviour in numerical solutions to stochastic delay differential equations

      Ford, Neville J.; Norton, Stewart J.; University of Chester (Springer, 2006-10-30)
      This book chapter explores the parameter values at which there are changes in qualitative behaviour of the numerical solutions to parameter-dependent linear stochastic delay differential equations with multiplicative noise. A possible tool in this analysis is the calculation of the approximate local Lyapunov exponents. We show that estimates for the maximal local Lyapunov exponent have predictable distributions dependent upon the parameter values and the fixed step length of the numerical method, and that changes in the qualitative behaviour of the solutions occur at parameter values that depend on the step length.
    • Using Mathematical Modelling and Electrochemical Analysis to Investigate Age‐Associated Disease

      McAuley, Mark; Morgan, Amy (University of Chester, 2019-04-02)
      People are living longer. With this rise in life expectancy, a concomitant rise in morbidity in later life is observed; with conditions including cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. However, ageing and the pathogenesis of age related disease, can be difficult to study, as the ageing process is a complex process, which affects multiple systems and mechanisms. The aim of this research was two‐fold. The first aim was to use mathematical modelling to investigate the mechanisms underpinning cholesterol metabolism, as aberrations to this system are associated with an increased risk for CVD. To better understand cholesterol from a mechanistic perspective, a curated kinetic model of whole body cholesterol metabolism, from the BioModels database, was expanded in COPASI, to produce a model with a broader range of mechanisms which underpin cholesterol metabolism. A range of time course data, and local and global parameter scans were utilised to examine the effect of cholesterol feeding, saturated fat feeding, ageing, and cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) genotype. These investigations revealed: the model behaved as a hypo‐responder to cholesterol feeding, the robustness of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway, and the impact CETP can have on healthy ageing. The second aim of this work was to use electrochemical techniques to detect DNA methylation within the engrailed homeobox 1 (EN1) gene promoter, which has been implicated in cancer. Hypermethylation of this gene promoter is often observed in a diseased state. Synthetic DNA, designed to represent methylated and unmethylated variants, were adsorbed onto a gold rotating disk electrode for electrochemical analysis by 1) electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), 2) cyclic voltammetry (CV) and 3) differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). The technique was then applied to bisulphite modified and asymmetrically amplified DNA from the breast cancer cell line MCF‐7. Results indicated that electrochemical techniques could detect DNA methylation in both synthetic and cancer derived DNA, with EIS producing superiorresults. These non‐traditional techniques ofstudying age related disease were effective for the investigation of cholesterol metabolism and DNA methylation, and this work highlights how these techniques could be used to elucidate mechanisms or diagnose/monitor disease pathogenesis, to reduce morbidity in older people
    • Using sub-micron silver-nanoparticle based films to counter biofilm formation by Gram-negative bacteria

      Gillett, Alice R.; Baxter, S. N.; Hodgson, Simon D.; Smith, Graham C.; Thomas, P. J.; University of Chester; Bangor University (Elsevier, 2018-02-16)
      Composite films comprised of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) grown using a low-cost straightforward chemical bath based method have been deposited on glass microscope slides to investigate their potential as a sacrificial antibacterial coating. The as-deposited films have been characterised using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical profilometry. These suggested that the films were relatively uniform in coverage. Chemical composition of the AgNP films has been studied by using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The XPS analysis indicated that the Ag was in a metallic form able to sustain plasmon behaviour, and that low levels of residual nanoparticle precursors were present. Particle size was characterised using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) which showed an average particle size of 10.6 nm. The effectiveness of the films as an antibacterial coating was tested against Escherichia coli. The AgNP film was determined to be effective in the killing of E.coli cells over a 24 hour period when compared to equivalent samples that contained no silver. Of particular note was that only minimal bacterial growth was detected over the first 12 hours of testing, up to 78.6 times less than the control samples, suggesting the film is very efficient at slowing initial biofilm formation. The use of AgNP based films that have been synthesised using a novel low-cost, low-temperature and highly upscalable method is demonstrated as a promising solution for the deployment of silver as an effective sacrificial antimicrobial coating to counter the formation of potentially hazardous Gram negative biofilms.
    • Using Virtual Reality to Experience Different Powered Wheelchair Configurations

      Day, Thomas W.; Headleand, Christopher J.; Pop, Serban R.; John, Nigel W.; Dobson, William; University of Chester, University of Lincoln (2017-09-31)
      This paper presents recent additions to our Wheelchair-VR application, in particular the use of different drive configurations. We have previously shown that Wheelchair-VR can be used to improve driving skills. Here we consider the utility of the application in allowing users who are in the process of purchasing or upgrading a wheelchair to experience different configurations and options in a cost-effective virtual environment. A preliminary study is presented, which suggests that this approach can be effective.